It should come as no surprise that one of the world’s biggest months in sports is also one of the biggest opportunities for advertisers. Argentina beat France on penalties in the final at the FIFA World Cup, one of the largest and most culturally significant sporting events in the world. And as soccer’s popularity continues to increase in the United States, the sport is more of a global touchstone than ever before.1 “The World Cup is truly representative of a global sport in which so many people and countries are invested,” says Jay Herrero of FreeWheel’s Global Client Support Team. For advertisers, “it’s a really great opportunity to reach the type of audience that you wouldn’t necessarily hit with [American] football, like at the Super Bowl.”
According to iSpot.tv, advertising dollars through the World Cup quarterfinals reached $213.6M and delivered more than eight billion impressions. Passionate soccer fans make for attentive, engaged viewers who represent a wide range of demographics. For marketers who want their messages to cut through the clutter, the World Cup is an incredibly effective place to advertise.
Viewership is the Goal
All live sporting events, particularly at the championship level, present huge opportunities for advertisers. In 2022, 80% of all sports fans (and 89% of soccer fans) watched sports on a streaming or online platform, proving that there is no shortage of viewers.2
The World Cup, however, is different. “This is not your small niche market,” Herrero adds. “It is a truly global audience.”
The timing of the 2022 World Cup presents a unique intersection with the holiday season, which already boasts historically high content viewership and spending from consumers, particularly women. Combine that with the knowledge that women have more interest in the World Cup than any other major soccer competition and that 37% of global soccer fans are women, and you get the perfect recipe for a big impact.3
From homes to bars to watch parties, people all over the world love to gather in large groups to watch live sports, presenting advertisers with even bigger audiences. Advertising during the World Cup not only provides viewership from highly engaged, sizable groups of people, but also diverse viewers who will be well-disposed toward supporting brands that reach them with the right content.
Content is the Key
Because of the sense of immediacy that comes with a massive cultural event, advertisers often find success by customizing their content to relate to the World Cup in order to create a deeper connection with audiences. This year, we’ve seen Chipotle create custom spots featuring American soccer players Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie, a global campaign by Gatorade featuring Lionel Messi, and Frito-Lay’s introduction of three limited-edition World Cup-inspired flavors. On the sporting world’s biggest stage, it’s a smart tactic for advertisers to insert themselves directly in the conversation.
With so many benefits to advertisers, demand is high. By early November 2022, NBCUniversal and Telemundo had already sold 90% of advertising inventory for the World Cup.4 With that in mind, advertisers would be smart to start planning for next year’s Women’s World Cup now if they want to score big and secure those valuable ad units before they are gone.
- “Soccer soars in the United States.” Share America, 17 Nov. 2022. https://share.america.gov/soccer-soars-united-states/.
- “How advertisers can score with streaming audiences during the World Cup.” The Drum, 18 Nov. 2022. https://www.thedrum.com/news/2022/11/18/how-advertisers-can-score-with-streaming-audiences-during-the-world-cup.
- “What fans want: The 2022 world football report.” The Nielsen Report, 2022. https://www.nielsen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/07/Nielsen-World-Football-Report-2022.pdf.
- “Telemundo’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Ad Sales Hit ‘Record Revenue’ Ahead of Kickoff.” Adweek, 7 Nov. 2022. https://www.adweek.com/convergent-tv/telemundos-2022-fifa-world-cup-ad-sales-hit-record-revenue-ahead-of-kickoff/.